Abigail Fickel - Wisconsin Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Nomination and Photography by Kim Rossing Photography Featured in Issue 16 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Abby Fickel is a senior at Arrowhead Union High School. She is a Varsity swimmer and President of her local DECA chapter as well as serving on the Wisconsin DECA Leadership Council and National DECA Writing Team. She is a state and international winner in the DECA competitions. She is also a lifeguard and has coached swimming lessons for five years including a special passion for helping disabled kids and those with special needs learn to be safe in the water. Abby serves as a mentor teaching weekly Sunday School classes and a youth leader at her local church as well as on the Elmbrook Teen Leadership Council and Youth Program Team.
Abby is VP of Community Events for her National Honors Society chapter and also participates in the Best Buddies organization, Chinese club and Math Team. Last year, she founded a Peers4Peers club at her school to address the rising epidemic of vaping and teen mental health issues. Her group has trained over 50 students in the first year to be peer counselors and her video for the state Elevate competition won first place and will be shown to thousands as a movie trailer to help share a positive message of “Choosing the Highs of Life.”
Abby is an exemplary student and a National Merit Scholarship SemiFinalist. She hopes to study science and business in college with a focus on Neuroscience or Cognitive Science and possibly attend medical school in the future. She is the oldest of four children and is greatly loved!
Abby founded a Peers4Peers club at her school to address the rising epidemic of vaping and teen mental health issues. Her group has trained over 50 students in the first year to be peer counselors and her video for the state Elevate competition won first place and will be shown to thousands as a movie trailer to help share a positive message of "Choosing the Highs of Life."
Tell us about your local DECA chapter and things you do in the organization.
Arrowhead DECA is an organization of marketing and business students who participate in business competitions and various community service projects. I personally believe that the most influential part of our chapter is Hawksfest: the annual fall festival that raises thousands of dollars for charity. This past year, the chapter held another successful Hawksfest, filled with food, games, local businesses, and more! Providing fun for all ages, we were able to donate $7,000 to Make-A-Wish and $2,000 to both HAWS and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Through my role as President, I have the amazing opportunity to oversee all activities, hold meetings, help operate the school store inside Arrowhead, and more. DECA has provided me with the incredible chance to see first-hand how an organization can give back to the community! Additionally, I have gained invaluable knowledge in the world of business, inspiring me to continue studying business administration in the future.
Tell us more about the Peers4Peers club you helped found at your school.
On Friday afternoon, excited chatter filled the corridors as students made plans for the home football game and weekend festivities. By Monday, however, tearful hugs, red faces, and clusters of friend groups inundated the halls. The stark change in mood occurred after news quickly spread that a beloved student had lost her battle with cancer just after her sixteenth birthday. After her death, pain ensued for all. Some slipped into depression, others turned to alcohol and drugs to cope. Seeing my best friends in pain rattled me, and left me feeling utterly helpless. Students needed trusted individuals to help them work through the emotional turmoil Katie’s death created without turning to unhealthy options. Through the counseling staff, eventually, Peers4Peers was created; a club of peer mentors who are professionally trained to identify struggling students, teach stress management techniques, and promote healthy lifestyles. One of the greatest joys of being a founding member of Peers4Peers has been the clear evidence of the impact our group has had on my high school. Not only have I been able to work with individuals battling mental illnesses, but I have also had the opportunity to partner with local drug-free coalitions to spread awareness.
How did your passion for swimming begin?
I began swimming at age 9, and since that point, swimming has played a huge role in my life. The sport suits my personality perfectly, allowing me to challenge myself individually, while in a team atmosphere. The past 4 years of varsity swimming have taught me about time management, team spirit, and effective leadership. Serving as captain in my senior year was an honor, as I had the opportunity to share my love of swimming and passion for life with the underclassmen.
What does “Choosing the Highs of Life” mean to you?
Last year, I- along with two friends- created a short video to inspire others to “choose the highs of life,” instead of alternatives. The video warned against prescription drug abuse and drugged driving. The majority of the video was filmed while I was on spring break in China. The inspiration behind the video stemmed from the realization of how precious life is. When one fully embraces the opportunities life offers, it is incredibly rewarding. To me, choosing the highs of life means living life to the fullest by finding happiness in the natural beauty surrounding us.
Video link: http://elevateyou.org/psa-competition/
What are your plans for the future?
While I have not decided on a career, I plan to study neuroscience and business over the next four years, possibly on a pre-medical track. Additionally, I plan to minor in Chinese. While these three topics might seem completely unrelated, it is my hope that a blend of science, language, and business will lead me into a career in which my primary focus is serving those around me. At this moment, I am considering pediatric neurosurgery, however, my career choices have been quite fickle as of late (no pun intended)!
Abigail Fickel was featured in Issue 16 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!